For the past week I could not access the Internet. It was because I went with 3 colleagues and 15 of our university students (and two of my daughters) to HuangShi in Hubei province again, to help run a summer camp.
Teachers and tutors from a number of Christian churches from Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles taught about 200 local high school students English, and our students taught them how to make a digital map of their campus. The high school students had to measure the longitude and latitude of assigned locations with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, take photographs and make recordings of stories in English about the locations. Our university students then used the measured GPS coordinates to draw a digital map of their campus, and linked the photographs and recordings to relevant locations on the clickable digital map.
While they were not working on the digital map the students learned phonics, sang, and played a lot of games. The digital map project and the camp overall was a big success. The local students were happy, their teachers were happy, the English tutors were happy, and we are happy.
This is what we call service learning. While providing community service, our university students learned a lot: information technology, English, Putonghua, education in mainland China, coordination, teamwork, and make a lot of friends.
It was very hot in HuangShi, as expected for this time of the year. But it also rained almost everyday while we were there, and the rain cooled it down a bit. I just came back this afternoon totally exhausted. More on the trip when I have time to recuperate.